Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dell Precision 490

Okay. So I was supposed to be working on posting images from Friday's shoot with David and Chuck, which I promise to still do. But, today the UPS man was my friend, bringing me the Dell Precision 490 over a week earlier than Dell told me it would even ship. We'll be using this system for Kodak DP2 rendering, so I thought I might run some CPU benchmarks.

This thing is fast. And I mean crazy fast. I ran Super Pi to 1M (1 million digits of Pi) in 17 seconds! 2M ran in 46 seconds! Let's put this in perspective. The latest and greatest MacBook Pro runs 1M in a squeek over 30 seconds. Simple math tells me that this is roughly twice as fast, as in 100% faster. Woah. Here are some SiSoftware Sandra CPU benchmarks for anyone interested. And for those who want interperations of the numbers, this machine just plain clobbers everything out there.

This workstation runs up to two Woodcrest (Xeon 5100 series) processors. We only have one installed, running at 3.0GHz with 2GB of quad-channel FB-DIMMs at 667Mhz (Fully Buffered ECC). For storage we got two 250GB SATA drives in RAID 1 configuration. For those who want to get ultimate performance, this workstation uses the new SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) drives in various RAID configurations.

Compared to a Conroe (Core 2 Duo for desktops), the processor is almost identical, except for the ability to use two of them and at a higher FSB of 1333Mhz vs. 1066Mhz for Conroe, as well as supporting a quad-channel memory architecture. Also, the Xeon clocks higher.

A few comments about the machine. First, it's built really well. All metal chasis. Easy "tool-less" access to everything inside. Lots of ports. Support for eight FB-DIMMs for up to 32GB of RAM. Suprisingly quiet. You have to really put your ear up to the case to hear anything. Also suprisingly cool. Putting my hand over the rear exhast vent for the processor cooling fans, my Core Duo laptop feels just slightly hotter. The exhast is practically room temperature.

The computer overall is super-responsive. Programs, windows, whatever launch instantly. This is hands-down the fastest system I have ever used. What amazes me is why nobody is posting any kind of Photoshop benchmarks for Woodcrest systems. Everyone is focusing on Conroe, which is only single processor. For real power users, this system should be at the top of anyone's list. With prices well under $2000, I'm starting to think twice about a Merom (Core 2 Duo) laptop. Is the 490 portable? No. Is it fast? Oh yeah. Decisions, decisions.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try and run some Photoshop benchmarks. If anyone has any photos or filters/actions you want me to run, post a comment. I'll do my best to accomodate. So I bid my new toy farewell for the evening and head home, hopefully to get cracking on posting Friday's shoot. Look for it.


At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just about to make the Pocket Wizard plunge. Might hold off. Any info on the range of the Skyports?

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At 4:12 AM, Anonymous dsi r4 said...

Thanks for the information on Dell Precision 490. Its a great machine. I has lot of features.


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